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The /t/ is optionally silent when it follows /n/ and precedes a vowel sound, /r/ (including all r-controlled vowels) or a syllabic /l/.

do you native speakers say "don't ask" as /doʊnæsk/?

  • Your question reminds me of this song. (Yes, don't ask often gets a "silent t".) – J.R. May 2 '16 at 2:20
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    "Don't ask don't tell policy", I hear only one t sound. – user24743 May 2 '16 at 3:18
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    There's going to be a lot of variation on this - even in the US, between different regions, and even different settings. I could pronounce it one way to my boss and the other way to my friends at a bar. – John Feltz Nov 29 '16 at 3:29

I am a native speaker of a very general General American and I would say /doʊnʔæsk/ in all cases regardless of formality of speech (I always glottalize /t/ syllable-finally). I might not even understand /doʊnæsk/ if the context didn't make it clear, and certainly it sounds excessively colloquial to me. I never omit /t/ after a nasal; "banter" will have the strong aspirated /t/ even in casual speech. You can't go wrong by pronouncing the t.

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Being Australian I tend to use a lot of slang in my general conversations. In this case, I would utilise the latter, simply because it rolls of the tongue better. In formal situations though in which I am paying attention to my speech, I would say the former.

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    :) before someone downvoted you - there is no former or latter in the question. – tum_ Jul 1 '16 at 13:45

I think this is an accent thing.

I'm also Australian, and notice many people drop the "t" in this situation.

However, interestingly it seems to only be after _on't words, and not _an't words.

For example, "don't ask" becomes "doun ask", "won't ask" becomes "woun ask", but "can't ask" becomes "carnt ask" - I suppose because can is the opposite of can't - so silence on the t would lead to confusion.

Though I have heard "carn ask"...again due to accent.

doesn't...this is another one that depends on accent. I've often heard it pronounced as "dozen".

Australian English is a lot more slurred and relaxed than England English though, and will differ from state to state.

In Tasmania, people often sound half asleep ;)

"Howz yuz goinn darl" (meaning how are you going darling) and "howz arz ya" (how are you) is a common greeting that I used to cringe at when I moved to Tasmania!

It is common here for complete strangers to call each other "Darl" (meaning darling) but never heard this in other states of Australia.

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